Thursday 25 August 2016

Finally, Dartmoor III

Sorry for the delay, but this is proving to be a very busy week for us.  First of all, a photo of the beautiful mug by award-winning artist Carole Glover , which is the one I bought from Powdermills Pottery.  Do go and check her website out, as you will be amazed at her skill and artistry.  We just love her designs and I have asked for something else of hers for Christmas (a combined present from all my family).  I would LOVE the big jug with hearts on, hint, hint!

A pot of lesser stuff, but still pleasing to my eye, this little piece of Torquay pottery pretends to have been made in 1821, but it is fibbing!  Allthe same, it gives me delight and probably dates from nearly a century later.  I found it with some other nice pieces of Torquay on a table at Cheddar car boot sale.

Above and below, this came from the same car boot sale and is a nice early piece of Scandy.  The earlier pieces had longer rhymes on them.

With our backs to Postbridge, we drove across the moor to Widecombe, which seemed to be very busy.  Here are a few photos of the village and surrounds.

Above: the Church house, built in 1537.  It was said originally to have been the Church Brewery, but then became Almshouses, and then a school at one point.  The National Trust now has a shop here stocking local crafts.

The yew tree opposite was probably a meeting place in times gone by as this base once held the original Widecombe Cross (there were three in this area and guess who missed seeing the ones in the church and churchyard?)  However, you can go and see them on THIS LINK.

St Pancras' church dates back to the 14th C and is known as "the Cathedral of the Moors" and its parish is huge, which must have given parishioners problems in the past, attending services in poor weather, and especially taking their dead for burial there.   HERE is the Wikipedia page about the village.

I couldn't resist a photo of this wonderful piece of drystone walling - made by the old motto "use what is available"!

The view to the moor from the lych gate of the church.  I can't for the life of me work out which Tor you can see!

Looking towards the coast from the road from Widecombe up to Hay Tor.

Hay Tor.

Goodbye to the moor . . .

Saturday 20 August 2016

Dartmoor photos II

We stepped onto the moor, on the trackway which led to Sandy Hole Pass, and although we had planned to go that far, as it turned out, we didn't as my husband had disturbed an old ankle injury when out running last week, and clambering over the rockier parts of this route did it no favours.  Anyway, this is the little streamlet which joins the East Dart just above the bridge at Postbridge.

It looks clear enough to drink doesn't it?  But possibly contaminated with liver fluke from the sheep and you never know if there's a dead sheep higher up!  Good for spotting baby trout though.

Rowan trees dot the moor though I think the berries will soon be gone from this one.  We were heading across the field to the gateway at the bottom of that little bit of woodland to the right.

To the left behind the Rowan tree in the photo above, this row of beech trees have grown many a long year.  There will be a gap in the middle now though as several were uprooted in a recent gale, and there was the angry buzz of a chainsaw cutting them up.

Just through the gateway onto the moor, the path passes close to the river, where it chuckles over the stones.

The view upstream from the same spot.

The path ahead - surprisingly dry, although there are always boggy bits to watch out for.

We used to fish for trout here, many years ago now, when my husband and I were first "an item".  We used to go down to the moor with our friend Stu, who was a keen and able fly fisherman and he and K used to hunt for trout.  I say "hunt", as the least shadow or heavy footfall will alert the fish and they will be gone like little arrows.  There is nothing quite so good as eating river-fed wild trout, cooked in foil in the embers of a fire made from dead gorse twigs picked a stone's throw away, and with just ten minutes between catching and eating.  They are SO sweet and we have never eaten supermarket/farmed trout since then.

I can't tell you how peaceful it was, with just the occasional chack of a Stonechat giving a warning.

I was sure that this was where we used to camp, but my husband tells me it was further back - we checked it out on our return journey and he was probably right.

Below: this was the spot.

The river, tawny from peat, as it flows downstream over the granite boulders.

A quiet spot to sit, back near the little gateway.  I picked up a small granite pebble near here - it had a band of charcoal coloured rock striating it.  It sits beside the computer now, a little piece of Dartmoor.  A bit like the bag of earth that Alex Haley's Kunta Kinte wore around his neck in the 1970s tv series, "Roots".  It's my connection with where I come from.

Wild Stonecrop growing between the boulders in a drystone wall.  There are many drystone walls across the moor.

Finally back to Postbridge, and then lunch in the East Dart Hotel close by.

Some final photos tomorrow.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Some Dartmoor air - part 1

Sunday morning began with   a three hour trawl of the huge car boot sale at Cheddar first thing - we arrived there  at 6.10 a.m)   We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, though towards the end we were flagging rather as breakfast had been a cup of tea and a piece of fruit.  We got some stock and I found a lovely old and early Torquay pot for my collection.

We spent the night in pub B&B in Buckfastleigh.  We hadn't realized that very few pubs did food on a Sunday evening because the poor chef was still recovering from doing the Sunday Carvery at lunchtime, which has become a feature in most pubs.  So there was no-where in the bit of Buckfastleigh we were that was doing food, and no way could I persuade my dear husband to have a Chinese takeaway!  The Abbey Inn was recommended to us so we drove the mile or to to that, and had a really good meal - my steak and ale pie was as good as I would make!  OH opted for ham, egg and chips and the ham was proper gammon ham off the bone, not "pink plastic" stuff!

We had a stroll around the town to walk off our meal.  The bunting made it look in real party mood!

Above and below - prettyness behind the scenes!  This courtyard was where they did cream teas.

A final behind-the-scenes glimpse.

On Monday morning (our last day of our short break), we headed up to the moor.  Of course, it was impossible NOT to stop for photo opportunities!

Above is what remains of the old Powder Mills, near Postbridge.  I will look up the history later on and add it to this post.  We stopped at the cottages nearby, as there was a Pottery there I wanted to visit, and - encouraged by my husband - I bought a gorgeous tankard with owls on it.  The artist was Carole Glover - please visit the link to see what she does.  We would like some more pieces of her work - we both fell in love with the huge charger (plate) but that was £275, so beyond our current means!

We also had a fascinating chat with the owner of the pottery and adjoining bunkhouse, Joss Hibbs, and talked about Dartmoor hill ponies and what colour the Dartmoor ponies are meant to be, historically!

Then down the road to Postbridge.  Here is the modern bridge across the East Dart river, and below, is the old Medieval clapper bridge.  There is another clapper bridge quite close to the Powdermills, so we will seek that out next time.

A few more photos tomorrow.  I need to take advantage of the sunshine and do a tidy up in the garden now.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Holiday memories - day 1

Remind me next year, when we plan a couple of days away, NOT to go in the middle of August as the world and his wife makes the same decision . . .  This was the view on the M5, driving down into Somerset on Saturday morning.  The traffic was ten times worse coming home and we had to leave the M4 at Newport last night as it was just chocabloc.  It took us 6 hours to get home (via Abergavenny and the dear old A40!)

Anyway, we had a very busy 3 days away.  We drove down and managed to find an afternoon car boot sale after we left the motorway (intending to head across the Somerset Levels.)  This boot sale was a nice break after the driving, and I found a couple of bits of Torquay pottery for my collection and some other bits and pieces to sell on.

We went to Cheddar via Wedmore.  There used to be a very good antiques dealer over that way we knew from our Dorset days, but he must have retired as there was no proper antique shop in Wedmore.  We stretched our legs in Cheddar and found an old barn at the back of the Tesco Extra which was selling various antiques and collectables and bought two WW1 badges there.

We needed to check how long it took to get from Cheddar to our overnight stop at Clevedon (half an hour) as we were heading for the huge car boot sale there the next morning.  We had booked a chalet at a holiday village, and found it clean, tidy and just what you need in an overnight stop.  We were somewhat amused to find that the couple at the next table to ours were breaking their journey (from N. Devon to Brum) with an overnight stop.  Heck, we might be getting long in the toof but we can still manage to drive for four hours without needing a bed for the night in the middle. . .  Ah well, perhaps they were just trying to extend their holiday a little bit (and miss the traffic we didn't!)

We had a meal on site, and then drove the mile or two down to the sea front at Clevedon and took lots of scenic photos of the sunset, which don't really need much explanation . . .  This is looking up the Welsh coast towards Cardiff.

. . . and to the left . . .

The Manx flag was flying, just for us (OH has a Manx name and roots).

Looking across to the main part of the town.  In the foreground was a safe swimming area constructed around the 1920s.

Looking back into Wales.  Newport (I think) vaguely in the foreground, and behind the flat top of the Sugarloaf, with the Skirrid to the right of it.

Straight down the middle with Cardiff in the distance.

The other end of the swimming area.  There were teenagers enjoying the water despite it getting a bit dimpsey.  Sadly, when we walked up that end, around the corner there was a young Chinese chap with a needle in his finger, tied in with a bit of tape.  The seemier side of Clevedon.

There was a little tower on the coastal path and we took one last photo in the direction of Cardiff before going back to bed.